Sunday, May 1, 2016

Women in Blue by Cheryl Mullenbach

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Women in Blue
by Cheryl Mullenbach


ISBN-13: 9781613734223
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Released: May 1, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
They were called sleuths in skirts, guardian mothers, copettes, and police in petticoats. It would be a long time—well over 150 years—before women in law enforcement were known simply as police officers.

Balancing the stories of trailblazers from the past with those of today’s dedicated officers, chiefs, FBI agents, and forensics experts, this collection of riveting biographies traces the evolution of women in policing. Women in Blue inspires readers to value those who broke through barriers—often enduring ridicule and discrimination as they fought for equality—while original interviews shed light on the daily challenges, rewards, and life on the job of various women currently in the trenches of law enforcement. The chronological progression puts hot-button issues like police brutality, race relations, and the treatment of suspects and prisoners into historic context and shows how many women in law enforcement are working to challenge and improve their field.

This rich, authoritative history is packed with colorful anecdotes, excerpts from primary sources, and sidebars on related topics and includes photos, a bibliography, source notes, and a list of organizations interested teens can explore to learn more about the world of law enforcement, making it an indispensable resource for aspiring sleuths, officers, agents, crime scene investigators, and more.


My Review:
Women in Blue is about the various jobs women have held in policing in the past to the present. It's aimed at young adults and provided resources for those interested in a career in law enforcement. I'd recommend this book to teens and adults interested in this topic.

The story of women in policing was told mainly through the biographies of sixteen women. We're told what life on the job was like for the early jail matrons and those who were among the first to patrol, be a detective, or police chief. We also learned about women in various forensic careers--like forensic artist and crime scene investigation--and in federal organizations like the FBI, US Secret Service, and customs inspections. We learned about the daily challenges these women faced, what jobs they did, and about some of their cases.

The author did a good job of showing the women in their historical context. She showed how national events like wars or the Great Depression affected their jobs and the types of cases they dealt with. She also explained how women won equal opportunities for promotion, jobs, and pay. There were photos of the women, including some that show them during training or shooting competitions.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sorting the Beef from the Bull by Richard Evershed, Nicola Temple

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Sorting the Beef from the Bull
by Richard Evershed
and Nicola Temple


ISBN-13: 9781472911339
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Sigma
Released: April 26, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Horse meat in our burgers, melamine in our infant formula, artificial colors in our fish and fruit. As our urban lifestyle takes us farther away from our food sources, there are increasing opportunities for dishonesty, duplicity, and profit-making shortcuts.

Food adulteration, motivated by money, is an issue that has spanned the globe throughout human history. Whether it's a matter of making a good quality oil stretch a bit further by adding a little extra "something" or labeling a food falsely to appeal to current consumer trends--it's all food fraud. Consumers may pay the ultimate costs for these crimes, with their health and, in some cases, their lives. So how do we sort the beef from the bull (or horse, as the case may be)?

Illustrious analytical chemist Richard Evershed and science writer Nicola Temple explain the scientific tools and techniques that have revealed the century's biggest food fraud scams. They explore the arms race between scientists and adulterators as better techniques for detection spur more creative and sophisticated means of adulteration, and review the up-and-coming techniques and devices that will help the industry and consumers fight food fraud in the future.


My Review:
Sorting the Beef from the Bull describes various types of food fraud and what scientists and consumers can do about it. While there is some "science talk" when describing how food fraud can be detected, the authors did a good job of explaining those tests in a way that non-scientists can follow. If you can follow a CSI-type show, then you can follow this book.

The authors started by giving an overview of food adulteration, then they described the origins of food fraud detection and compared it to what's currently being done about it. Next they looked at specific categories of food and described past methods of adulteration, what scientists can do to detect that adulteration, and what the consumer can do to avoid it.

The categories they covered were vegetable oil (including rapeseed, maize, and olive oil); fish; beef; milk, butter, and cheese; spices (including pepper, paprika, cayenne, chillies, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, saffron, salt, turmeric, and vanilla); beverages (including juice and wine); and whole fruits, vegetables, grains, and seeds.

The cases came from all over the world, but they mainly looked at cases in the UK, USA, and China. I appreciate that the authors gave advice on how the average consumer can try to avoid or detect adulterated products. I'm glad I'm informed now, and I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about food fraud.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Healing Spices by Kirsten Hartvig

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Healing Spices
by Kirsten Hartvig


ISBN-13: 9781848991545
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Watkins Publishing
Released: April 19, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
The Healing Spices Cookbook will show you how to make the most of your spicerack and discover just how tasty healthy eating can be. Renowned nutritionist and naturopath Kirsten Hartvig offers over 100 delicious and easy recipes from around the world, from starters and preserves to confectionery and liqueurs.

Also included in the book is a detailed directory of spices, featuring profiles of the healthiest, most popular kinds, including ginger, paprika, saffron and tamarind. This is a one-stop, easy-to-use, practical guide to the colourful world of spices, telling you all you need to know about buying, storing and using them so you can release their full potential for improving well-being and vitality.


My Review:
Healing Spices is a guide to buying, storing, and using spices. In the first half of the book, the author provided in-depth profiles for 50 spices. She provided historical and general information about each spice, what to look for when buying the spice, how to store it, and how it's commonly used. She also briefly described how it has been used traditionally in Indian or Chinese medicine or what has been discovered through scientific studies.

In the second half of the book, the author provided 100 recipes from around the world. They sound fairly simple to do, though many contained spices you might not currently have on your shelf. They're intended to be healthy recipes, and the author included variations like a vegetarian alternative to a meat-containing dish. The recipes were for spice blends, snacks and finger foods, soups and salads, main courses, side dishes, deserts and baking, and drinks. Most of the recipes took between 20 to 50 minutes to make.

The spices covered were: Ajowan, Allspice, Amchoor, Aniseed, Asafoetida, Bay Leaf, Black Cumin, Caraway Seeds, Cardamom, Cassia, Celery Seed, Chilli Peppers, Cinnamon, Cloves, Cocoa, Coriander, Cumin, Curry Leaf, Fennel Seed, Fenugreek Seed, Galangal, Garlic, Ginger, Horseradish, Jaggery, Juniper, Kaffir Lime, Kokum, Lemongrass, Mace, Mahlab, Melegueta Pepper, Mustard Seed, Nigella Seeds, Nutmeg, Paprika, Peppercorns, Pink Peppercorns, Pomegranate Seed, Poppy Seed, Saffron, Salt, Sansho, Star Anise, Szechuan Pepper, Tamarind, Turmeric, Vanilla, Wasabi, and Zedoary.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Secret Poisoner by Linda Stratmann

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The Secret Poisoner
by Linda Stratmann


ISBN-13: 9780300204735
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Yale University Press
Released: April 26, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Murder by poison alarmed, enthralled, and in many ways encapsulated the Victorian age. Linda Stratmann’s dark and splendid social history reveals the nineteenth century as a gruesome battleground where poisoners went head-to-head with authorities who strove to detect poisons, control their availability, and bring the guilty to justice.

She corrects many misconceptions about particular poisons and documents how the evolution of issues such as marital rights and the legal protection of children impacted poisonings. Combining archival research with a chemist’s expertise and a novelist’s eye, Stratmann charts the era’s inexorable rise of poison cases both gruesome and sad.


My Review:
The Secret Poisoner was primarily a collection of true crime stories from the 1800s. These cases happened mainly in Great Britain and France, and they all involved poisons. Arsenic was the poison most frequently used in the cases brought to trial, so we learn a lot about it. The author also covered some less frequently used poisons, like laudanum and vegetable poisons. I've read about some of these cases before, but most of them were new to me.

We're also told about developments in scientific testing that allowed these poisons to be detected, laws proposed to added safe-guards on who could buy poisons, and how society viewed poisoners. The author also described the difficulties in proving a murder charge in a poisoning case and how science experts fared when giving testimony.

The writing wasn't difficult to understand and flowed well. While scientific tests were briefly described, the book was not technical in nature. The descriptions of the vomit and other effects of poison, the stomach contents, and the state of old corpses could get rather gross. They were graphically described using what sounded like witness reports from the trials. Overall, I'd recommend this book to true crime fans with an interest in poisoning cases.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Think and Eat Yourself Smart by Dr. Caroline Leaf

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Think and Eat Yourself Smart
by Dr. Caroline Leaf


ISBN-13: 9780801015717
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Baker Books
Released: April 5, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Science is beginning to understand that our thinking has a deep and complicated relationship with our eating. Our thoughts before, during, and after eating profoundly impact our food choices, our digestive health, our brain health, and more.

Dr. Caroline Leaf includes an incredible amount of information that will change readers' eating and thinking habits for the better. Rather than getting caught up in diet fads, Leaf explains that every individual has unique nutritional needs. She shows us how to change the way we think about food and choose the path towards health.

Anyone who struggles with emotional eating or who wants to improve their health will discover how to begin developing a healthier body, brain, and spirit.


My Review:
Think and Eat Yourself Smart describes how to eat and think in healthy ways and reveals how to make life-long changes in how you view and choose food. Since we're all unique individuals, the author explained basic principles rather than promoted specific foods.

In part 1, she concisely summarized a number of critical problems with America's food system. In part 3, she provided practical tips and advice on how to make healthy changes to your thoughts and diet, how to buy healthy food, and how to cook from scratch. She also talked about the benefits of sleep and increased physical activity. She provided 21 recipes (with suggested variations). Part 1 and part 3 aren't technical and can be understood by anyone.

In part 2, she described how toxic thoughts and food choices affect our body. She explained how your mind is impacted by ads, how refined sugar can impair good thinking, the impact of cholesterol, trans fats, and saturated fats on your health (and it may not be what you think), and more. I enjoy technical details and this part had them. She'd also "put it simply" after each important idea, and you can get the overall idea even when the technical details are meaningless to you. This section helps clear up common diet misinformation due to"overblown correlations and inaccurate interpretations" of scientific studies.

Her basic recommendation is to avoid refined and processed foods in favor of whole, local, and organic "real foods," but she also showed how our food choices are rooted in our thoughts about food. I'd recommend this book to those who regularly eat the Modern American Diet but who want to pursue a healthier relationship with food.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Fast Metabolism Food Rx by Haylie Pomroy

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The Fast Metabolism Food Rx
by Haylie Pomroy


ISBN-13: 9780804141079
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Harmony
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Blogging for Books.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Feed Your Body Back to Health! Powerful food prescriptions for G.I. distress, fatigue, hormones, cholesterol and inflammation, mood and cognitive challenges, diabetes, and autoimmunity.

Haylie Pomroy, celebrated nutritionist, shares a food prescription for the 7 most common ways your metabolism misfires and leads to exhaustion, excess weight, and illness. With her targeted eating plans you can feed your body back to a vibrant, energetic, and thriving state. If you’re suffering from GI issues, fatigue, out of whack hormones, mood and cognition difficulties, elevated cholesterol, blood sugar control problems, or an autoimmune problem, Food Rx has help for you.


My Review:
The Fast Metabolism Food Rx describes how you can use healthy foods to help your body to heal itself. The author's own health problems motivated her to study nutrition and come up with these plans, and now she does this professionally. The foundation of her program is a list of foods that will help your body to heal. You can buy almost all of these foods at a local grocery store. You'll need to make your own meals, but she suggests making extra and freezing it for when you don't have time to cook.

She recommends 3 meals and 2-3 snacks each day, eating every 3-4 hours, plus at least 8 hours of sleep. You eat from certain categories of food (complex carbs, vegetable, fruit, protein, etc.) at different times to help heal certain problems. You choose the foods that you like from the foundational food list under each of these categories. She included some recipes as examples, and she talked about appropriate exercise and relaxation options to compliment the food prescriptions.

I have no concerns about her food selection or overall eating plan. However, her every-three-hour prescriptions don't allow much wiggle room, and not everyone is going to have a work schedule that will allow it. Yet I still recommend this book, as I'm pretty confident that you'll improve if you just increase the amounts of these foundational foods in your meals. About 90% of my meals are already made up of these foods, and I've healed from a number of health problems.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Midnight Assassin by Skip Hollandsworth

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The Midnight Assassin
by Skip Hollandsworth


ISBN-13: 9780805097672
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Released: April 5, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
A sweeping narrative history of a terrifying serial killer--America's first--who stalked Austin, Texas in 1885. The city of Austin, Texas was on the cusp of emerging from an isolated western outpost into a truly cosmopolitan metropolis. But beginning in December 1884, Austin was terrorized by someone equally as vicious and, in some ways, far more diabolical than London's infamous Jack the Ripper. For a year, the Midnight Assassin crisscrossed the city, striking on moonlit nights using axes, knives, and long steel rods to rip apart women of every race and class. The citizens' panic reached a fever pitch.

Before it was all over, at least a dozen men would be arrested (and released) in connection with the murders, and the crimes would expose what a newspaper described as "the most extensive and profound scandal ever known in Austin." And when Jack the Ripper began his attacks in 1888, London police investigators did wonder if the killer from Austin had crossed the ocean to terrorize their own city.


My Review:
The Midnight Assassin is a true crime book about a series of gruesome murders from December 1884 to December 1885 in Austin, TX. The police had minimal forensic methods at that time and didn't know how to investigate a series of seemingly motiveless murders. There was very little evidence gathered. A number of men were arrested but released or acquitted due to lack of evidence. The case was never solved.

The book explored the social structure of the city and how these crimes changed Austin, Texas. The first women to be killed were black servants, but it ended with the deaths of several higher class white women. It was interesting to see how the citizens reacted to the various crimes. I'm impressed that those in charge managed to prevent lynchings and that innocent men weren't convicted.

The author vividly described Austin before, during, and after the murders, including details about notable events leading up to the murders. He described the murders and the steps taken to track down the killer(s). He provided clinical descriptions of the bodies and how people reacted to the sight. He didn't play up the gore, but these were very grisly, chilling murders. I'd recommend this book to people interested in the first American serial killer.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.